Conservatives Will Hold Their Noses for Mitt Romney

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He'll take whatever he can get. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rick Santorum's late surge seems to say as much about voter resistance to Mitt Romney’s inevitability as it does about excitement over the recently languishing candidacy of Santorum. But Romney – with his money and organization and Party support – still has the best chance of winning the nomination. And then what? Will the GOP’s conservative base turn out for him on Election Day? Or will they lack the desire and motivation to even drive over to their polling place? To find out, we took a minimally representative and statistically unreliable poll of CPAC attendees today.

Walking through the packed halls of the Marriott, I asked 51 people —  I meant to do 50, but I guess I overcounted —  of all ages and genders (and even a few non-white people!) to answer this question:

"If Mitt Romney wins the GOP nomination, when it comes to the general election, will you":

A) Vote for him enthusiastically

B) Hold your nose and vote for him

C) Stay home on Election Day

D) Vote for a third party

E) Vote for President Obama

The results?

A) Enthusiastically: 23

B) Hold nose: 25

C) Stay Home: Zero

D) Third Party: 3 (all Libertarian)

E) Obama: Zero

So, the Party base is not very excited about Mitt Romney. Also, the sky is blue. BREAKING!!!

But more interesting is that, if it comes down to Romney and Obama, the base will grudgingly show up to the polls. “Anyone but Obama,” may not be the most flattering motive, but a vote is a vote. It's like pity sex —  you'd rather she was legitimately attracted to you, but you're not going to complain.